May 4, 2009 -- Question: What are some activities that might be enjoyable for people with Alzheimer's?
Answer: Activities are an important part of life throughout the life span whether we're cognitively impaired or not. They bring meaning into our lives and that's a very important concept in terms of developing appropriate activities for people with Alzheimer's disease.
Just because we're 65 or older, doesn't mean we like to tool coin purses or to play bingo. So we really need to look at their history, past interests and things that were meaningful and enjoyable. Get that information from a family member or from the individual themselves, and target, individualize the activities so that they're truly meaningful and enjoyable.
Some people like one-to-one activities; others prefer to be involved in group activities. Ask them, to find out what they enjoy. Or observe them, and see if they prefer to be around other people or more by themselves.
We also want to make sure that they can be successful. So we need to take into consideration their level of cognitive impairment or physical impairment, and again tailor the activities so that they can do them and feel good about their accomplishments with those activities.
We pace activities in Alzheimer's disease based upon the person's attention span. It may be 5 minutes or it may be 30 minutes. But again, we take our cue from the individual -- what they find meaningful, what they find enjoyable.